About This Blog
First, a little about me:
I am a physics graduate with a background in computers. I currently live in Japan where I work as a technical translator. This means I get to read a lot of internal corporate documents about up and coming technologies from Japanese tech companies. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this work is being able to see the disconnect between Japan and western countries in terms of our perceptions of technology, and the way that technology is used in everyday life. It is not uncommon to read executive disbelief at how technologies that are highly successful in one country can be a total flop when taken across the pacific. Unfortunately, all of this material is covered by non-disclosure agreements, so there’s not really much that I can put into writing except in the most general way. I will try to give a feel for the gap in my postings.
Another field that I am exposed to through my translation work is the world of cutting-edge computer science research. Although the work I get to translate is usually a couple of years old (so I guess its not so cutting edge anymore), it is fascinating nonetheless. The work provides a window into a world that I would not otherwise be aware of, and can be quite inspiring at times. (In fact, one of the challenges of the job is staying focused on writing the translation after a paper has piqued my interest in a field of study that I didn’t previously know existed.)
Yeah, I know. Gatunka is a strange name. And no, it doesn’t have any meaning. So why Gatunka? The short version: when I changed service providers, I got to register a new domain name for free. After 6 hours of searching for available .com domain names, Gatunka.com was the least strange option that was actually available, so I grabbed it before anyone else could (and was thankful that I didn’t have to go with the even worse alternatives).
The long version: I’ve decided that I really have to get out of being a translator. It just isn’t a very satisfying job. The problem is not the job of being a translator itself. Translation is a challenging job, particularly when working with languages as disparate as Japanese and English. The problem is that translation gives me ideas. And once I’ve gotten an idea in my head, I find it torturous work on anything else until I’ve run through the idea to its logical conclusion. I’m guessing there are a lot of people reading this who can understand. As an example, I was working on a paper that described a quite novel approach to image compression. It was interesting and well written, which usually makes for a nice, fast job. But somewhere in the middle of the translation, I got an idea about applying the technique to image recognition. From that point on, I couldn’t read or write another sentence without daydreaming about the possibilities for image recognition, and the translation turned into a drag. An easy job that should have taken a couple of days stretched into weeks of hell. Knowing that I didn’t have the time to write a prototype in C, yet being so totally enveloped in the idea that I couldn’t do anything else. That’s how I know that I can’t be a translator. So time to do something new. Gatunka!
Gatunka is my attempt to create a web 2.0 business. Since I haven’t actually settled on the business plan, its a bit premature to go through the ordeal of choosing a name. So I guess that Gatunka will do as the codename for the project. I can’t really give any details on the project (mainly because the ideas are still in a state of flux). Once I have something running, I’ll be sure to link to it.
As for this blog, well, its really just a collection of bits and pieces about technology and whatever else I feel like discussing. Ever since I started reading reddit, I’ve been meaning to set up some kind of blog so that I can write detailed responses where I feel it is needed. I know that there is a commenting system on reddit, but it can be insufficient at times to really make a point. I’m going to remain anonymous for the moment. Mainly because I want to be able to whinge about some of my translation customers without them knowing about it. To that end, I think the pseudonym GT will suffice. I look forward to seeing everyone in the blogosphere!